“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Transitioning in and out of military service is a very stressful time for any family. In the fall of 1984, I finally came to the realization after falling on my face multiple times trying to be a responsible husband and father decided that it was time to grow up. With a young wife and two babies and no career opportunities looming, I reached out for some in finding order and enlisted in the United States Navy. The Navy was a little leery of taking on the burden of a young man with a growing family and required several dependency waiver hearings before they approving my enlistment. Had they realized that number three was on the way (not to mention four other ones over the coming years), my Navy career may have entered before it began. So after boot camp Lynn joined me in Illinois at that place affectionately referred to as “The Great Mistakes by the Lakes” or Naval Stations Great Lakes and we waited for the birth of our third daughter Rebekah. Only one of two “yankee born” children. (no Maryland and Kentucky are not in the north, both are south of the Mason-Dixon line thank you very much).
Early Childhood: Her early childhood was somewhat of a blur most of the time because we were moving every 6 to 9 months and I was working very long hours and strange hours. (Maybe that is the reason there are so few pictures of her as a baby, not that she ever noticed that fact). Anyway, she was less than a year old when we learned her devious nature. While living in Navy housing in Orlando, Lynn was distraught by the fact that here two good natured little toddlers kept climbing into the playpen and attacking their little sister. Discipline was stiff, but daily she was having to be rescued from her ogre sisters. Then … one day … Mommy finally saw it in the reflection of the sliding glass door. Her innocent little child stood up in the playpen, reached out, grabbed her sisters hair, yanked and then immediately sat down, thumb in mouth, like nothing happened.
Elementary Years: She was always quiet and shy in public. My sister called her Little Cindy Lou Who because of the way she always looked so shy and innocent with her thumb in her mouth and her index finger twirling her hair. School brought on great amounts of anxiety. Although she was actually a pretty high achiever, areas in which she struggled brought many tears. (As did not having her hair done quite right)
Although she was a bit timid, she was not weak by any means. She developed a love for sports and was the first to play on an actual team and introduced us all to the beautiful game. She was not much into the girly things and went through a phase were she and her brother Charles became best friends through of their love of sports. Together they actually developed their love of all things UK while I was away at sea. Maybe it has gone a little beyond fandom and they have indoctrinated their youngest brother into the ridiculousness that is Big Blue Nation. (Could not be more proud)
Middle / High School: Rebekah ‘s life had always included being a “Navy Brat”. As she entered her teen years, that all changed. A family that had never had roots, suddenly was planted. New friends, new experiences, even the extended family had changed since we were closer to Lynn’s family and my mother had just passed away. It is amazing how change drives us to find our core values.
Youth Group with Stephen Blandino brought stability and direction. She began to develop a love for order and leadership. Little by little she became less of a follower. It was so awesome to watch her blossom into a confident young woman.
But some things never change. That little girl that pulled her sisters hair and acted all innocent … oh yeah … she was still there. The most notorious practical joker in the family. Her delight in scaring people (especially her mother) is a wonder to behold. Her craftiness, patience, and skill even exceed my own. Her evil cackles are spine chilling.
Speaking of evil … No one plays a better human video devil than Rebekah. Her interpretation of an evil puppet master with her friend Kara as the puppet was creepy. I am still bitter about the score they were given at the fine arts festival. That was one of the best performances I have seen. Grrrhhhh!
College & Beyond: The once shy and timid little Cindy-Lou-Who was no more. Once away at school, this little girl began to “live deep and suck the marrow out of life”. She threw herself into college life and made the best of the community living out her passion for communication and leadership. She developed a personal walk with the Lord that is inspiring. She has developed a wisdom that allows her to be a real friend and be compassionate and yet speak tough love.
She can be serious one moment and having you dying in stitches the next. I will never forget the one production she was in while in college. She played a very strange character and made me laugh so hard just by taking a bite out of a cucumber. She has poured in the lives of her siblings in ways that they do not even know.
Writing about Rebekah (or Aunt “B” as she is now affectionately known), is very difficult for me. Although she me may not like it, she is the child that is most like me which makes writing about her is sort of uncomfortable. I am not sure that I have ever been this jointed in my writing. Every time I start to write something, something else pops into my head. I think that Romans 12 describes well the woman that Rebekah has grown into. She is the epitomy the word ‘friend’.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. ” (Romans 12:9-15)